It's hard to believe it's almost Summer here in London. This year is going too fast for me, and I confess I haven't quite gotten around to believing Spring is already here, let alone that it's almost the end of May.
There's signs aplenty of Spring all around me, even if the temperature isn't one of them - the flowers, more sunny days, longer daylight hours. England really does wear her best during this time of year. Allow me to show you some of her outfits.
Very pretty, right? Having come from a part of the globe where it's mostly sunny and dry, I didn't usually get to see this type of lush landscape (think cacti and the occasional weedy flower, and grass if we were lucky). I know some will think me mad, but I'd rather have more wet and gloomy days if it means I'll get to see these pops of colour sprouting from the ground. London has me spoilt for parks and gardens.
Now, let me confess: the flowers aren't my number one favourite thing about London's parks. The thing that makes my heart sing with joy is its cheeky furry and feathery inhabitants! If you bring tasty morsels for them to eat, the squirrels and birds will gladly allow you the honour of taking the food directly from your hands and eat near you. I call this my Disney Princess moments...
Since an image is worth a thousand words, let me show you what I'm talking about, using myself and some friends as protagonists in Hyde Park.
In case you're wondering, these birds (parrots?) aren't native to England. It's speculated that their ancestors were probably captive pets who managed to free themselves of their cages, and set shop in these parks. I'm not sure how they survived - and thrived! - the harsh Winters, but that they did, and their progeny is definite proof of this.
I didn't take any pictures of passers-by looking at us like we were wildlife seducers, but believe me, there were plenty of those. My friend Helena always brings extra bird and squirrel feed, and she often asks those looking if they'd like to have a go - the brave ones receive some food, instructions and off they go! The joy on their faces when an animal trusts them is lovely to behold. Now I also bring extra food and offer others; since you've probably noticed I don't exactly look like a regular citizen, I love how they sometimes look a little confused by my black clothes and generous behaviour. Goths don't bite, promise!
Lastly, squirrels. I love them, their little paws, their soft tails and how the most courageous ones realise they can just stand on me and eat the best food safely at their leisure.
If you ever decide to have your own Disney Princess moments, just bring along some sunflower seeds for the birds and some nuts for the squirrels, some patience and I guarantee you a goofy smile when watching these cute guys nom nom nom away. You can do this even in Winter, as they no longer hibernate - they're so chubby they haven't the need.
Happy Spring, everyone!